The Construction Site is a relatively new addition to the Yonge and Eglinton area. Opening its doors last November, it is tucked in beside the subway entrance, where there used to be a Druxy’s deli. They specialize in grilled cheeses using gourmet ingredients in imaginative combinations. They have several large wooden communal tables for dine-in guests, giving the experience a homey feel. The menu is constantly evolving each month, with 5 staple items and a rotating weekly special. Each month they drop the least popular item and replace it with the best selling special from the month before. This has a very organic, “survival of the fittest” feel to it which I find very interesting. Who knows what the menu will look like a few months from now. Continue reading
It was a cold January evening. I was cozying up with a bottle of Rickard’s Dark as I have been known to do, and craving something really rich and hearty for Sunday dinner. This reminded me of my university days when my soon-to-be chef roommate would make a huge vat of chili to help get us through the bitter cold winters of Guelph, Ontario. The rich flavor of the dark beer helped me make my decision as well. Here’s my simple adaptation of several chili recipes I found on the web with lots of my own touches added. That’s why I call it the “all-in” chili, basically anything in my fridge that seemed like it might remotely work went into the pot. Continue reading
It was a quick pit stop to Fahrenheit coffee on the way to St. Lawrence Market one chill Wednesday afternoon, but boy was I glad to have stumbled upon this place. They had just opened their new location at 120 Lombard two weeks before i stopped by and I got the feeling that they were still settling into the place. The entire cafe couldn’t have been any bigger than a 20 by 20 foot box but the atmosphere inside was still nice. The unfinished wood counters were at chest level and reminded me of the quick to-go espresso bars you would see all across Europe. At the time they did not have any seating or wifi, but according to twitter they have now added stools and internet is available for dine in guests. This should really help grow this into a local hotspot.
I had a quick lunch again at the Urban Eatery, this time I tried out the Szechwan Express. I know what most people will be thinking, “Dim sum in a food court?! Gross!” but it was actually surprisingly not bad. Now as a proud Chinese-Canadian I’ve had my fair share of dim sums in all types of places here in Toronto and in Hong Kong. So hopefully I can provide a broader view on dim sum quality.
At $9.75 for the sampler platter of 8 pieces it was certainly not a cheap option but worth a shot for something very different than the usual food court fare. As you can see, you get 2 hai gow (shrimp dumpling), 2 Sui Mai (Chinese pork meat balls), 2 dumplings, 1 BBQ pork bun and 1 sesame ball. I’ll break it down by item because some were certainly better than others. Ranked from best to worst.
- Sesame ball: This was actually really good. It was gooey and sweet but wasn’t too greasy. It had a nice crispiness to the coating which adds a great texture change to each bite. If I were to come back I would probably get only a couple of these along with the hai gow.
- Hai gow: The best I can say was that these tasted very authentic. They would be exactly what you would expect from a dim sum restaurant in Chinatown. Nothing revolutionary but more than I expected. I would have these again.
- BBQ pork bun: Full disclosure, I’m not usually a big fan of these even at the best restaurants so not a surprise this had a lower ranking for me. It was ok, but like most versions of this the ratio of filling to bun was far too low for me.
- Sui Mai: Nothing special here either. Not really worth having again but they weren’t offensive.
- Dumplings: These were the worst of the bunch. The main flavor that I got was just pure grease and a bit of meat. I would avoid these if I were you.
Overall, it was better than what I expected to get at a food court in a mainstream downtown mall. Given the chance I may grab a couple sesame balls as a sweet snack but the rest isn’t worth the price for what you get. At least it’s a change of pace from the boring burger and fries combos you see at all other food courts.
I discovered this recipe on Foodgawker and thought it would make a great change of pace for the normal roasted potato side dish. The concept is pretty simple but it does look a bit more impressive than the usual, and of course is very tasty. The most difficult part was the prep work to cut each slit and fill with garlic, but I’ve found a small adjustment to the instructions that should make it much easier.
Aged Cheddar Grilled Cheese with Crispy Bacon and Green Apples!
Grilled cheese is a crowd pleasing fan favorite. Not many people can dispute that. There is something comforting about warm gooey cheese sandwiched between two crispy pieces of bread that brings most back to their childhood days. This is my version of a classic grilled cheese stepped up for a more adult palette, inspired by an item on the Gorilla Cheese menu that was sold out when I stopped by. Continue reading
Growing up I never enjoyed the taste of coffee. I used to not even like the taste of coffee ice cream or coffee flavored cakes. My mom has always been a big fan of coffee so she would try to get me to taste hers, but I never enjoyed it. Even all the way through university I opted to get my caffeine fix from a Red Bull instead of a simple coffee. This all changed after spending a summer working at a local cafe, which gave me unlimited access to high quality espresso and allowed me to experiment with different drink combinations and foaming techniques. I gained a new appreciation for the flavor and craftsmanship that goes into a real latte. I was hooked.